Steiner symposium brings together leading diabetes experts

July 5, 2005

On Friday, July 15, 2005, 28 of the world's leading diabetes researchers will gather at the at the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Learning Center, 924 E. 57th Street, to discuss their latest research and to celebrate the 75th birthday of Donald F. Steiner, MD, the A.N. Pritzker Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

Steiner, a 1956 graduate of the University of Chicago Medical School, is an international leader in insulin biology, insulin secretion, protein processing and diabetes who has revolutionized how scientists understand the production of hormones such as insulin. In 1965, Steiner discovered that the double-chain hormone insulin is made in the pancreas as proinsulin, a single chain that doubles back on itself. After proinsulin is secreted, enzymes trim away the segment connecting the two chains to produce insulin.

"Proinsulin was the first 'pro-hormone' to be discovered," said diabetes specialist Louis Philipson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and one of the symposium organizers. "It has served as a model of how many other polypeptide hormones are cleaved to become active and to be properly secreted."

The discovery of proinsulin also enabled the pharmaceutical industry to increase the purity of insulin preparations extracted from animals, which has improved the management of diabetes and created a better life for millions of diabetic patients worldwide.

Steiner, working with colleagues at the University, discovered the first case of diabetes caused by abnormal insulin (which they labeled "insulin Chicago"). Later, he worked with a Japanese team to describe the first disorder caused by an abnormal insulin receptor.

The symposium has been funded through educational grants from Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, NovoNordisk, Lilly, Abbott, Merck and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Donald F. Steiner Symposium:

Exploring Pancreatic Beta Cells, Insulin Biology and Protein Processing

Program

8:30 A.M. Welcome

Keith Moffat, PhD Deputy Provost for Research, Louis Block Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, and
Arthur H. Rubenstein, MD, Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System

9:00 - 10:30 Session 1: The Beta Cell I

Chairs: Kevin Docherty, PhD, University of Aberdeen, UK;
Kenneth Polonsky, MD, Washington University in St. Louis

  • Beta cell signaling -- Susumu Seino MD, DMSci., Kobe University, Japan
  • Insulin exocytosis -- Shinya Nagamatsu, MD, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Tokyo
  • Human insulin secretion -- Kenneth Polonsky, MD, Washington University, St. Louis
  • Reflections on the beta cell -- Roger Unger, MD, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, TX

11:00 - 12:30 P.M. Session 2: The Beta Cell II

Chairs: Mark Magnuson, MD, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville;
Sture Falkmer, PhD, Trondheim University, Trondheim, Norway

  • Signaling in the beta cell -- Christopher Rhodes, PhD, PNRI, Seattle, WA
  • Beta cell and pancreas ontogeny -- Helena Edlund, PhD, Umea University, Umea, Sweden
  • Beta cell metabolic coupling -- Claes Wollheim, MD, University Medical Center, Geneva, Switzerland

Lunch 12:30 - 1:30

1:30 - 2:45 Session 3: Evolution of pancreatic hormones

Chairs: Shu Jin Chan, PhD, University of Chicago;
Thomas Kjeldsen, PhD, Technical University of Denmark

  • Islet cell differentiation -- Ole Madsen PhD, Hagedorn Research Institute, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen
  • Role of the insulin system in Drosophila -- Robert Garofalo, PhD, Pfizer Research Labs, Groton, CT
  • IAPP -- Per Westermark, MD, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

3:00 - 4:30 Session 4: Insulin, IGFs and their receptors: Dedicated to the memory of Howard Tager

Chairs: Jonathan Whittaker, MD, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland;
Ron Chance, PhD, Eli Lilly Research Laboratories

  • The active surfaces of the insulin molecule -- Guy G. Dodson, PhD, University of York, UK
  • Structure-function relationships of insulin and the IGFs -- Pierre De Meyts, MD, PhD, Hagedorn Research Institute, Novo Nordisk A/S, Copenhagen
  • Mutant insulin structures -- Michael Weiss, MD, PhD, Case Western Reserve, Cleveland
  • Insulin receptor signaling -- C. Ronald Kahn, MD, Harvard Medical School

4:45 - 6:00 Session 5: Biology of the beta cell in diabetes

Chairs: Gordon Weir, MD, Harvard Medical School;
Kishio Nanjo, MD, Wayakama Medical University, Wakayama, Japan

  • Immunotherapy in diabetes -- Kevan Herold, MD, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Diabetes genes and beta cell function -- Graeme Bell, PhD, University of Chicago
  • Islet transplantation -- Susan Bonner-Weir, PhD, Harvard Medical School

6:30 Birthday Celebration Dinner (Quadrangle Club)

Opening Remarks: Arthur Rubenstein and Organizers
Keynote Scientific Presentation - Ake Lernmark, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, and University Hospital MAS, Malmo, Sweden
Dinner and Remarks from Current and Former Colleagues of Dr. Steiner
Closing Remarks - Co-Presenters

Note: Media coverage of the conference is welcomed.

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Press Contact

John Easton
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